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Meetings in 2021

Our 2021 AGM

The Society's 2021 AGM was duly held on Zoom on June 30th and was well attended. It was followed by a fascinating account by Adrian Munsey of the thinking behind his recent documentary, "Rudyard Kipling, a Secret Life", illustrated by extracts from the film.

The on line address for the recording is available to members of the Society from until August 10th.

From now on we are resuming our meetings at the Royal Overseas League, in Park Place, St James's, London SW1. We will also offer these meetings on Zoom to members who are unable to come in person. The Zoom links will be available from John Radcliffe.

Wednesday 22 September 7.30pm for 8.00pm at the Rotal Overseas League, The Starmers-Smith Memorial Lecture.

Professor Harry Ricketts, Victoria University, New Zealand, spole on ‘Kipling and Trauma’.

Wednesday 10 November 5.30pm for 6.00pm at the Royal Overseas League. Madeleine Horton on ‘Rethinking Rudyard Kipling: Genre, Value, and Reputation’.

Wednesday, 9 February 2022 5.30pm for 6.00 pm - at the Royal Overseas League.

Richard Howells on ‘One Spot Beloved Over All' - The Kiplings and the Bateman's Estate.’

World-wide Kipling readings

Wednesday May 12th This was another very successful reading on zoom, chaired by Jan Montefiore, with some 30 members taking part. Alex Bubb was once again in good voice.

Please contact for the link to the recording. We are having another session of readings later in the summer.

A Kipling playlist on Spotify

Mike Kipling has put together this Spotify playlist witht a selection of Kipling-related music containing both his verses set to music and music inspired by his works. If there is something you know is already on Spotify and would like to see added, please let Mike know at

And on our YouTube channel you can hear seven Just So Stories.

November 2020

On Wednesday November 11th Jan Montefiore spoke to a well-attended session on Zoom, on War Graves, the Mayo assassination and Kipling's last Raj story "The Debt".

If you would like to see the recording of her talk, introduced by Dr Alex Bubb, please email for the link.

See the December Newsletter for an account of Jan's recent visit to Bateman's for an interview by Michael Portillo for the BBC.

September 2020

On September 23rd Dr Madhu Grover spoke to us from Delhi on 'Border crossings in Kipling's Indian short stories'.

If you would like to see the recording of this session, please email for the link.

Click here to see a video recommended by James Mulcahy on how to get the best out of Zoom.

What's new on this site

We have created three new sections for the site, "Sharing great reads" for reading groups, "On Writing" with Kipling's advice on his subtle craft, and "For young readers".

This section covers the Jungle Books, the Puck Stories, Land and Sea Tales, and the Just So Stories . We are now offering the full texts of Just So, with both Kipling's own illustrations and the little known colour plates by Joseph Gleeson, made for the 1912 Doubleday edition. You can also listen to six of the stories.

Amazon have just published a third e-book, Letters of Marque to follow Plain Tales from the Hills and Soldiers Three, as a Kindle application, price in UK £2.25.

It includes David Page's notes on the articles. Like the two earlier collections it has been put together very elegantly by Tom White in California, in close collaboration with the Society.

Tom White has recently updated Plain Tales from the Hills. If you have bought this from Amazon you can get the updated version via your Amazon account by going to Manage your Content and Devices, locating the book, and opting to have your copy updated.

If you are not already using the Kindle app you will need to download it to your computer, and specify this to Amazon when you buy the e-book. They will then download the book to the specified device.

Philip Holberton's notes on the uncollected poems written in India, while Kipling was working as Assistant Editor of the Civil and Military Gazette and later for the Pioneer, are now complete.

The last of these, on Kipling's journey home in 1889, and his arrival in London, are:

"Verse letter to Sidney Low"
"Verses from letter to Andrew Lang"
"There once were four people at Euchre"
"Verse Fragments and Limericks"
"In the City of Berlin"
"A Ballade of Indian Tea"
"Caroline Taylor"
"Verses on fruit plates"
"The Owl"

We have recently published an illustrated article by John Walker on "Kipling's Cars" the fruits of many weeks of work, and years of experience.

Alastair Wilson has annotated a little known uncollected poem, The Buttercup, a list of wildflowers in rhyme, written in the flyleaf of a French volume on plant names by Gaston Bonnier.

A Diversity of Kipling

On August 12th/13th 2017, for 24 hours, we mounted a 24 hr reading of Kipling's works, arranged by John Walker, then Chairman of the Society, which was a splendidly successful occasion.

A programme of one-hour edited highlights has been produced and can be found on-line here. We can now make copies of this highlights programme available to members on DVD (including photographs of the event and other images) or CD (just the soundtrack) to listen to on their own computer, TV or CD player. These, attractively boxed, might also make a handy Christmas or birthday present for family or friends.

We suggest a donation to the Society of £10 per copy. Payment can be by PayPal, transfer to the Society's bank account or by cheque (in £, US$ or €) payable to ‘The Kipling Society' Please send your orders or requests for further information to our Treasurer, Mike Kipling, either by e-mail at, telephone at 0780 168 0516 or mail to Bay Tree House, Doomsday Garden, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 6LB.

Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London

From January 14th to April 2nd 2017, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, there was a groundbreaking exhibition, curated by Prof. Sandra Kemp, Deputy Chairman of the Society, showing many pictures and artefacts never before displayed.

It explored the life and work of Lockwood Kipling (right), (1837-1911), Rudyard's father. Author of Beast and Man in India, he was a distinguished teacher, curator and designer, who had a strong influence on his son's writings. Later in the year the exhibition moved to New York, and to India.

Rudyard Kipling
by Andrew Lycett.
A paperback edition

Ever since its publication in 1999, Andrew Lycett's distinguished and deeply researched biography has been a standard work of reference for Kipling scholars and general readers alike.

This paperback edition, with a new introduction by the author, was published in time for the 150th anniversary of Kipling's birth on December 30th 1865.

Click here to order at a special disounted price for Kipling Society members.

Kipling and War
From 'Tommy' to 'My Boy Jack'.

An anthology by Andrew Lycett.

Although Rudyard Kipling never fought, he was one of Britiain's foremost observers of and commentators on war. Through his writing, the voices of countless soldiers and the guns of many battles echo through the years and place Kipling firmly among the leading practitioners of 19th and 20th century war literature.

You can order through the Society, at a disounted price of £12.45 including UK p&p, , here .

Kipling and the Sea
Voyages and Discoveries

Kipling wrote copiously about his own voyages - to India, across the Pacific and Atlantic, down to South Africa and Australia - and about the voyages of others. Sailors were particular heroes of his, as adventurers who braved every kind of element and danger to reach distant lands, as skilled engineers and navigators in the Merchant Service, or as trained men in the Royal Navy, safeguarding the Empire.

This collection, edited by Andrew Lycett, is available from I B Tauris to Kipling Society members at the special price of £13.96, via their website at, quoting the code 9VL at the checkout stage.

Kipling Abroad, Traffics and Discoveries from Burma to Brazil

A selection of his most descriptive and revealing travel writing, introduced and edited by Andrew Lycett, published on January 11th 2010 by I.B.Tauris.

The complete edition
of Kipling's poems

Professor Thomas Pinney's magisterial three-volume complete edition of the verse was published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press.

Of over 1300 poems in this edition, over 500 have never before been collected, and 50 are previously unpublished. Every authorised version of the collected poems, from original periodical publication to the final edition in Kipling's lifetime, has been included to produce a full record of the author's additions, deletions and alterations. A note to each poem provides a record of publication and, where possible, information about its occasion and context.

This splendid collection is priced at £200, but Cambridge University Press are offering it to members of the Kipling Society at a 20% discount. Members can access the discount via the link above, or by calling +44 (0)1223 326050 and quoting the code KIPLINGSOCIETY. The edition is also available in the Kipling Library.

Kipling and Trix
A novel by Mary Hamer

Kipling and Trix tells the story of two lives. Filled with drama, they share a childhood darkened by terrors that will colour the years to come, as brother and sister take very different paths.

Can brother and sister survive the different catastrophes that befall them as adults and find the resilience to start over again?

Based on extensive research, Kipling and Trix makes emotional sense of these extraordinary and courageous lives, presenting them here together for the first time.

You can find an interview with Mary about the book on Words Unlimited.

Click here to buy the book from Waterstone's

Click here to buy it from Amazon UK

Man and Mason
Kipling and Freemasonry

This study by Richard Jaffa shows how at two key stages in his life, Kipling wrote of Freemasonry, not only for dramatic impact but as a source of spiritual comfort after the horrors of the Great War.

Richard Jaffa has been a Freemason for thirty years, and Master of four Lodges. For a copy of his book (£15 including P & P) you can write to him at 32 Malcolmson Close, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3LS, or email to

The Cat that Walked by Himself

The British Library has published an edition of this timeless classic from the Just So Stories, together with "How the Camel Got His Hump", "How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin" and "The Elephant's Child", price £7.95.

It is available on line from the British Library shop at 96 Euston Road, London NW, or enquire by phone to (020) 7412 7735, or by e-mail to

Kipling's Sussex

Kipling wrote evocatively, in many stories and poems, of his beloved adopted county.

This study by Michael Smith, extensively illustrated in colour, sets Kipling's life and work within the context of the varied and beautiful Sussex landscape. It also includes the Sussex poems, and several others, together with two little-known prose works, "A Village Rifle Club" and "Railway Reform in Great Britain". There is also a glossary of Sussex words used by Kipling.

Rudyard Kipling's Uncollected Speeches:
A Second Book of Words

ELT Press at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro has published Rudyard Kipling's Uncollected Speeches which includes forty-eight speeches, on a variety of topics, and to a variety of audiences, edited by Professor Thomas Pinney.

If you are interested in acquiring a copy, contact Robert Langenfeld at ELT Press (

Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling

This masterly study by Charles Allen, whose great-grandfather gave 16-year-old 'Ruddy' his first job on the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, was published by Little Brown on November 1st.

Charles Allen focuses on Kipling's younger years from 1865 to 1900: his Indian childhood, abandonment in England, return to India and coming of age. He traces the Indian experiences of Kipling's parents, Lockwood and Alice, and reveals the hidebound culture the young writer was born into and returned to as a teenager - and the painful process by which he shook off his chains to become a writer of genius. It is a work of enormous sympathy for a man – though not blind to Kipling's failings – and the country he loved.

My Boy Jack?: the Search for Kipling's Only Son

An updated edition of this classic closely researched study by Toni and Valmai Holt has been published by Leo Cooper/Pen & Sword, at £12.95. It tells the sad tale of the life and early death on the battlefield of John Kipling, Rudyard Kipling's only son.

The Irish Guards in
the Great War

The two classic volumes of "The Irish Guards in the Great War", edited by George Webb, are available from PostScript Books.

You can order by post (24 Langford Road, London SW17, 7PL), by phone (020 8767 7421), or via the
PostScript website.

Rudyard Kipling
A literary life, by Philip Mallett

This well-regarded study is available from the web-site of Palgrave Macmillan. They are also offering the six volumes of Thomas Pinney's superbly edited "Letters of Rudyard Kipling", either singly or as a set.

Kipling's America

Between 1889 and 1895, while travelling in the United States, and - later - living in Vermont, Kipling wrote a number of letters and articles about America. In this collection published by the ELT Press at the University of North Carolina, David Stewart brings them all together, in their original form, with an illuminating commentary.

David Page, former Editor of the Kipling Journal has commented:
"...when you read Prof Stewart's book, you will read the handiwork of that 23 year-old in all its ebullient glory – Kipling writing for his Anglo-Indian audience, paying his way from his earnings, and clearly not stinting...Kipling paints the American scene literally with his pen; delights in the people that he meets, foibles and all; exults over the salmon and trout that he conquers; and tells us what he really thinks of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

The book is available from Amazon at a price of £35.00 but we have been able to arrange for a special price to members of the Society of £16.95 (including postage) for readers in the UK, or €25.95 for readers in Europe. Please send a sterling or Euro cheque in favour of The Kipling Society to: Bay Tree House, Doomsday Garden, Horsham, W Sussex RH13 6LB, U.K..

The Indian Railway Library
Facsimiles at bargain prices!

Roger Ayers writes: Between 1986 and 1988, the
Surtees Society, which publishes facsimiles of books by and about R.S. Surtees and his world, produced a set of reprints of the first six Kipling books to appear in A.H. Wheeler's Indian Railway Library. These were some of the very first paperbacks ever to be published.

These reprints, made with the agreement of Macmillan, were advertised at the time as being ‘as nearly as practicable' facsimiles of the first Indian Editions and were bound in grey-green wrappers bearing the well-known cover illustrations of the originals. In fact, they were not all copied from first editions, or even Indian Editions, and some include English advertisements from Sampson, Low, Marston & Company editions. A further departure from the originals was the inclusion of illustrations by A.S.Hartrick from the 1896 edition of Soldier Stories in Soldiers Three and Wee Willie Winkie and the poem "Danny Deever" in Soldiers Three.

However, the books are very close to the originals and, as a bonus, Philip Mason, author of Rudyard Kipling, The Glass, the Shadow and the Fire, wrote an introduction to each book specially for this set of reprints. They can now be found in second-hand bookshops, sometimes priced at £5 to £8, but the R.S.Surtees Society still has some available to members at 1986 - 1988 prices! These are:

Soldiers Three £2.95
The Story of the Gadsbys £2.95
In Black and White £3.75
Under the Deodars £3.75
The Phantom Rickshaw and Other Eerie Tales £3.75
Wee Willie Winkle and other tales £3.75
Set of all 6 Indian Railway Library reprints £18.00

You can locate the Surtees Society on line, write to them at Manor Farm House, Nunney, Nr. Frome, Somerset, BA11 4NJ, U.K., or telephone to +44 01373 836937.

The Kipling plaque at U.S.C.

This plaque at 'Kipling Terrace' in Westward Ho!, dating from 1953, commemorating Kipling's time at United Services College, had become obscured by ivy and undergrowth. It was rediscovered by members of the local History Group, and has now been refurbished, thanks to a grant from Northam Town Council.

Original watercolour illustrations

Jennings Fine Art are selling 26 watercolour drawings, circa 1920, by Dorothy Carleton Smyth, illustrating the titles of Kipling's works. These are possibly original designs for "vellucent" bindings for a de luxe edition. If you are interested in seeing them contact Neil Jennings on 07812 994558.

Literary tours

Harvey's Literary Tours are running six-day tours of "Landscapes that inspired Literature", including a visit to Westward Ho! the scene of Kipling's schooldays at USC. For details contact Ross Harvey (

A painting of Rottingdean

This painting (44 x 59 cm) in oils, by Jean Farnsworth (1976), is available for sale at £330. If you are interested in acquiring it, please contact Mr H Boehm (phone 0115 9119746)

The Gardens at Bateman's

One of our members, Dennis Ball, A.R.I.B.A., has done a measured survey of the gardens at Bateman's, in the form of a handsome watercolour, which provides a detailed and accurate aerial view of the house and gardens. It was shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1998.

Dennis Ball has offered a reduced version of the work, measuring 45cms by 22cms, with a white border of 4cms, to members, at a price of £6.00 plus postage. If you are interested in acquiring a copy, you can get in touch with him at

An etching of Rudyard Lake

Grosvenor Prints are offering this etching in black & white ink on slightly browned paper (c.1900) for sale, priced at £30. It measures 8 x 5 3/4 ins.

If you are interested, please contact them at 19 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9JN, tel +44 (0) 20 7836 1979; or email to

A Strang etching for sale

A correspondent, Geoffrey Ivey, has offered a copy of the notable etching of RK by William Strang (1859-1921) for sale.

Geoffrey Ivey writes: "the etching - Rudyard Kipling No. 2 - was made in 1898 and is signed in pencil, bottom right by William Strang - Wm Strang fec. - as etcher and bottom left - David Strang imp. - by his son as printer. It was pulled in an edition of about 80, of which about 60 copies were signed. This impression is in very good condition and I have had it mounted (acid-free board, of course) and framed in a very decent gilt moulding. The plate size is 35cm x 25cm and the overall dimensions in the frame are 59cm x 47.5cm. The price is £625."

If anyone is interested in acquiring the etching, please get in touch with Geoffrey Ivey on

Kipling and the Swastika

(A Ganesha plaque by Lockwood Kipling)

Members may be interested in taking a look at Michael Smith's article on the subject on this site.

Staying in Burwash

Visitors to Burwash may be interested to know of Church House in the High Street, an elegant Georgian village house, where Mrs Rosemary Sendall offers Bed and Breakfast. Click here for details.

There is also a wealth of information about Burwash and its surroundings on the village web-site.

Staying in Naulakha

A correspondent has reminded us that RK's house in Vermont can be rented by holidaymakers. There are many mementoes around the house, and many of the rooms, including the study, remain very much as they were. You can get details of rental terms in the UK from 01628-825920 or the Landmark Trust web-site, or in the USA on 802-254-6868 or their US site.

The 'If..' poster

This striking 'If..' poster has been produced by Stewart Superior Europe Ltd. It is available in A4 (21 x 30 cm) for £5.75 or A2 (42 x 60 cm) for £11.15, unframed. Framed versions cost £17.00 and £37.45. To order send a cheque to SS Europe, Unit 4, Chartridge Estate, Eskdale Road, Uxbridge UB8 2RT, UK, or phone (in UK) 01628 810260.

A Kipling Society for Estonia

The Rudyard Kipling Society of Estonia is currently in formation. It is hoped that the society will be able to foster new interest in Kipling and open up unexplored avenues of scholarly research.

The main focus will be on the life and writings of Rudyard Kipling, but the society will also have an interest in relevant comparative literature.

For more information please email James Baxenfield:
This week's quotations October 4th to 16th)

Can you identify these lines ?

1. Long before I reached the Gully of the Horsemen, I heard the shouts of the British Infantry crying cheerily: "Hutt, ye beggars! Hutt, ye devils! Get along! Go forward, there!" Then followed the ringing of rifle-butts and shrieks of pain. The troops were banging the bare toes of the mob with their gun-butts - for not a bayonet had been fixed..

2. The clamour might have continued to the dawn had it not been broken by the noise of a shot without that sent every man feeling for his defenceless left side. Then there was a scuffle and a yell of pain. "Carbine-stealing again!" said the adjutant, calmly sinking back in his chair. "This comes of reducing the guards. I hope the sentries have killed him."

3. Five volleys plunged the files in banked smoke impenetrable to the eye, and the bullets began to take ground twenty or thirty yards in front of the firers, as the weight of the bayonet dragged down and to the right arms wearied with holding the kick of the jolting Martini.

For the sources of these extracts click here

Rudyard Kipling, a Secret Life

This remarkable documentary, first seen in October 2019 on Sky Arts, is now available on DVD. Its main focus is a fresh and revealing exploration of events from Kipling's grim childhood legacy of neglect and separation, the devastating loss of two of his three children and the effect that this double tragedy had on his work.

It is available on Amazon.

It includes contributions from Jan Montefiore, Harry Ricketts, and Andrew Lycett.

Past Newsletters

With a mention of some of a great many articles and notices:

Something of Themselves: Kipling, Kingsley, Conan Doyle and the Anglo-Boer War, by Sarah LeFanu
(Hurst, 2020)

What compelled three well-known British writers to leave their homes and travel 6,000 miles to participate in a nasty late-19th-century conflict in the far-off South African veldt? This question lies at the heart of Sarah LeFanu's excellent analysis of how Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle and Mary Kingsley found themselves following the flag in Britain's last imperial war.

They were all slightly outside the British establishment and eager to prove themselves — Kipling with his Indian origins, Conan Doyle born in Scotland of Irish parentage and Kingsley through her gender. Finally, LeFanu suggests, they were fleeing private traumas ....

[Andrew Lycett, in The Spectator, 15 February 2020.]

Two more recent books

If, the untold story of Kipling's American Years
(Penguin Random House, 2019)

In 1892, after marrying an American wife, Kipling made his home for four years near Brattleboro in Vermont, where he wrote some of his most celebrated works.

This is a new exploration of his life and work in Gilded Age America, from a celebrated scholar of American literature. Christopher Benfey is the Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts.

A Soldier's Kipling, Poetry and the Profession of Arms
(Pen and Sword, 2018)

Edward J. Erickson is a retired regular U.S. Army officer at the Marine Corps University who has written widely on the Ottoman Army during World War I, including the campaigns in Palestine and Gallipoli.

He observes that although not a soldier himself, Kipling was writing of timeless themes of military and wartime service, the experience of combat, unit cohesion, and individual courage. This is an original contribution to the understanding of his verse.

In Time's Eye
New Perspectives

A collection edited by Jan Montefiore, which breaks new ground in Kipling scholarship. Contributors include Hugh Brogan, Dan Jacobson, Daniel Karlin and Bryan Cheyette.

After the perspectives of Chesterton (1905), Orwell (1942) and Jarrell (1960), newer contributions address Kipling's approach to the Boer war, his involvement with World War One, his Englishness and the politics of literary quotation. Different aspects of Kipling's relation to India are explored, including the ‘Mutiny', Eastern religions, his Indian travel writings and his knowledge of ‘the vernacular'

The two-sided Man

Following his selection of Kipling's poetry, The Surprising Mr Kipling, Brian Harris has produced a follow-up anthology of his short stories, The two-sided Man.

Together with some of Kipling's finest tales, the book deals with the charges of racialism and imperialism that have been levelled against him, as well as his attitude towards politics and religion. Asked why we should read Kipling today. Brian Harris writes:
Kipling should be read for the same reasons we turn to any great writer, for the beauty, lucidity and force of his prose and for his perspicacity and insights. Here is someone who paid the respect that is due, but not always accorded even now, to the alien, the poor and the oppressed.

As the unofficial spokesman of the greatest empire in the history of the world he described accurately and sympathetically the lives of the peoples living under its jurisdiction. Though no orthodox believer, he prized and in his writings illustrated, the great Christian virtues of charity, compassion and forgiveness, as well as the more modest British virtue of toleration. Nor is it possible to read his stories without being surprised by the light they so often throw on the eternal mysteries of love, pain and loss.
Like The Surprising Mr Kipling, The two-sided Man is published by CreateSpace and is currently available from Amazon at £9.38 (+ p.&p.)

Rudyard Kipling
The definitive bibliography

The launch in February 2010 of this authoritative bibliography of Rudyard Kipling by David Alan Richards was a major publishing event for Kipling scholars and collectors.

Click here for a list of recent additions and corrections to the work.

It is the first to appear in fifty years and the first to incorporate modern standards of collation. It fully describes 480 first editions, authorised and unauthorised, appearing as books, pamphlets, leaflets, and broadsides from 1881 through 2008 in British India, England, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Chile--a dozen of which titles were not noted by prior bibliographers.

It is the product of many years of intensive work by David Richards, who is among the world's leading Kipling collectors. It is an indispensable guide to his works for any serious student or enthusiast.

It is available in the UK from the British Library to Members of the Kipling Society at the special price of £110. Please address initial enquiries to the Society via

A battle in Afghanistan

As Charles Carrington recounts (p. 214) in 1894, on holiday in Bermuda, Kipling chanced to meet a sergeant in the Royal Berkshire Regiment who carried him off to the sergeant's mess. This enabled Kipling to hear at first hand of the terrible Battle of Maiwand, fourteen years before, during the Second Afghan War, when a wing of the regiment had been wiped out. Soon after, he wrote the grim ballad "That Day".

This book by Richard J. Stacpoole-Ryding tells the story of this fine Victorian Regiment. Copies can be ordered from this website. It is also available via Amazon,

Cross-references in the 'Puck' stories
and "The White Man's Burden"

ELT Press at Greensboro in North Carolina, publishers of the periodical English Literature in Transition, are bringing out two special issues to mark their fiftieth year, one of which (50:2,2007) includes a most interesting article by Lisa Lewis on "References", "Cross-references" and Notions of History in Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, and Rewards and Fairies, and another by Patrick Brantlinger on "The White Man's Burden".

If you would like a copy of these or other articles, contact The University of North Carolina, PO Box 26170, Greenboro NC 27402-6170, USA., or email to

Kipling's Forgotten Sister

A collection of previously unpublished writings by Kipling's sister Trix, by Lorna Lee has been published.

Michael Smith describes it as: "...a treasure trove of unpublished writings ... and a fascinating collection of facts, memories, and photographs."

The book is available (price £24.95) through Forward Press Ltd, tel: 01733 898105, email:

Barrack-Room Ballads

A paperback edition of Barrack-room Ballads has been published in Signet Classics with an new Introduction and Annotation by Andrew Lycett.
(ISBN 0-451-52886-7)

'The Long Recessional: The Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling', by David Gilmour

This March 2002 study of Kipling's life, by David Gilmour, the acclaimed biographer of Lord Curzon, studies the public role of the man who so embodied the spirit of the British Empire.

Some reviewers' comments on David Gilmour's book

Andrew Lycett wrote in the Sunday Times: 'His meat is in his brilliant teasing-out of the political content in Kipling's fiction, verse, letters and other pronouncements...Along with his effortless command of his material, Gilmour impresses as a stylist: always to the point, able to sum up a verse or a character in a sentence. He makes one look again at certain poems...while noting the salient points of works usually ignored...Gilmour has illuminated not just Kipling, nor simply the troubled but fascinating history of empire, but something important about ourselves.'

Robin Knight wrote in Time Magazine of April 1st 2002: '...It's a measure of this balanced book that Gilmour puts Kipling firmly in the context of his time but does not attempt to defend the indefensible. As he stresses, Kipling - ever the realist - touched real chords in the British psyche during the first 40 years of his life...but basically he failed to change with the times...'

Tom Paulin wrote in The Times Literary Supplement: '... The Long Recessional is an important act of cultural reclamation, which ought to bring readers back to the Kipling canon...'

Ruth Padel wrote in the Daily Telegraph: '...David Gilmour has written an enthralling biography of a mind. His focus is on the "imperial life" of Kipling as artist: a case of the British Empire in the head...(he) charts beautifully the labyrinthine twists of British politics over imperial matters from 1900 to 1935, but never strays from chronicling Kiplin's writerly progression. Which makes this book essential reading for anyone who cares about how a writer finds, and passionately lives, his subject.'

Andrew Roberts wrote in the Mail on Sunday: '...This beautifully written, touching, and occasionally very funny book is far more than an apology for the greatest phrase-maker in the English tongue since Shakespeare. It is a chivalrous yet scholarly rescue of a great man's reputation...Gilmour has gently taken the old boy by the elbow and helped him up on his rightful pedestal, carefully slipping the laureate's crown back upon that balding scalp. A victim of decades-long debunking, Rudyard Kipling is now triumphantly re-bunked.'

Kipling's 'Selected Poetry', edited by Craig Raine

Penguin have re-issued the Modern Classics edition of Kipling's Selected Poetry, which was first published in 1990. In his Introduction Craig Raine helps the reader to reassess RK's use of imagery, rhythm and sound, giving us less of the patriot and more of the poet.

A Circle of Sisters
by Judith Flanders

Rudyard Kipling's mother was one of the four remarkable Macdonald sisters, all of whom made their mark at the turn of the 19th century. Georgiana and Agnes married, respectively, Edward Burne-Jones and Edward Poynter. Louisa was the mother of Stanley Baldwin, later Prime-Minister. Alice was the mother of Rudyard Kipling.

This study by Judith Flanders' of the Macdonald sisters has been highly praised. Jan Morris calls it 'a terrific book ... a pageant-like exhibition of Victorian artistic and middle-class life.' Roy Porter comments that it is a revelation: '(it) blows away all the tired platitudes about Victorian women'. Hilary Mantel comments that 'Judith Flanders recreates their inner and outer worlds with wit, sympathy, and insight'.

'A Circle of Sisters' is published by Viking in hardback.

Kipling Down Under

In 1891, the 25-year-old Rudyard Kipling, newly risen into world fame through the publication of The Light that Failed', 'Plain Tales from the Hills, and other stories of India, set off alone on a tour of the Southern hemisphere.

For two weeks he was in Australia, mostly in Melbourne, where he was received with great curiosity and interest. What he did in those two weeks, what he thought and said to his hosts, where he went, how he was treated, and what the Australians thought about it all, is fully presented in this account from interviews and articles of the time.

The book is edited by Rosalind Kennedy and Thomas Pinney , and is available from Amazon, or your local bookstore.

Some reviewers' comments on the Lycett biography

Sarah Sands wrote in 'the Daily Telegraph of 3 September 1999: '...The revelation that caught the eye of the Sunday newspapers was that this old fuddy-duddy smoked opium and frequented brothels. It does not surprise me. Scratch a conservative and you will often find a raging anarchist; it is because he understands chaos that he sees the need to preserve order.

What distinguished Kipling was his intellectual resistance to an unthinking liberal consensus...'

Iain Finlayson wrote in 'The Times' of 2 September 1999: '...At the dark heart of Kipling there is a horror worthy of a Conrad story...'

and George Webb, Editor of The Kipling Journal, wrote in a letter to 'The Times' of 7 September
'May I take issue with the review by Iain Finlayson of Andrew Lycett's fine new biography of Rudyard Kipling (September 2)...' (more)

'The Hated Wife'
Carrie Kipling 1862-1939

Adam Nicolson's study of Carrie Kipling is published by Short Books. Drawing on a rich archive of diaries and letters, he has exposed the tensions at the heart of the Kiplings' marriage. Yet as he shows, it was Carrie who saw that Rudyard had the privacy he needed for his writing, and provided the backbone that her husband often preached but privately lacked. One critic, Nicci Gerrard, has written, 'Adam Nicolson takes Mrs Kipling - for so long despised - and gives her back her humanity with clarity and grace.'

A contemporary review of a 1940 study of RK

Edward Shanks, poet and critic, published a major study of RK's work in 1940, just over three years after his death. Alastair Wilson has recently found a contemporary review of Shanks' book in a back number of The Naval Review. It sheds an interesting light on attitudes to Kipling sixty years ago, and we have reproduced it in 'The Kipling File', together with a note from Lt-Commander Wilson.

'The Long Trail
Kipling Round the World'

Meryl Macdonald's study of Kipling the globe-trotter is available by special offer - price £14.95 (inc. p & p) from Tideway House, PO Box 26, BRISTOL, BS9 1YH.

Kipling and his first publisher

A recent book edited by Professor Thomas Pinney and David Alan Richards, which publishes RK's magisterial letters to Thacker, Spink and Co between 1886 and 1890, is now available from the Rivendale Press in High Wycombe, price £25.00 including p & p anywhere in the world.

To place an order you can phone Rivendale Press on +44 (0) 1494 562 266 or email them to You can also visit their web-site.

New editions of the rarer works

David Page has reported:

'The IMDbsite (see above) can also re-direct you to the US Amazon site for a list of RK's books. I have only searched the secondhand sites until now.

Fredonia Books (NL) have a paperback series (usually $24.95 per volume) including:

Abaft the Funnel
France at War
Eyes of Asia
Sea Warfare
The Naulahka

'These are facsimiles of the original editions, digitally enhanced to improve legibility. Abaft the Funnel (published July 2001) is the 1909 edition, and is clearly the unauthorised edition of B.W. Dodge since it follows the exact pagination, has the source of each story quoted in a footnote, and has the same minor discrepancies between the titles of some of the stories and the list of Contents (eg 'IT' rather than 'IT!' )'.

The Eyes of Asia (published March 2001) is the 1918 edition of Doubleday, Page & Co, with the same pagination. The Fredonia website( does not include its catalogue, but directs enquirers to Amazon.

Classic Books have a library binding edition (usually $98 per volume, frequently by special order) as part of a 'Collected Works of Rudyard Kipling', printed in May 2000, including:

Schoolboy Lyrics
An Almanack of Twelve Sports
From Sea to Sea

Rudyard and Kipling, Michigan

In 1895, when railroads were still being extensively built in the American west, the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste Marie railway (the "Soo Line") was being cut through the virgin forests of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The General Manager of the railway, Frederick D. Underwood (1852-1942), was a devoted admirer of the work of Rudyard Kipling, and he named two stations on the route after his favorite author. See 'Kipling's Michigan Twins Today'.

RK's poems on cassette.

Michael Smith has drawn our attention to a selection from RK's verse on audio cassette at the very reasonable price of £3.99. Originally published by Penguin, they start with A School Song and include If--, Danny Deever, Tommy, and The Female of the Species.

You can order the cassette through the Postscript web-site, quoting the code-number 18717.

The Just So Songbook

Jeffery Lewins has produced a delightful CD of Edward German's settings of the songs that accompany the Just So Stories, sung by Andrew Wickens, baritone. It is available from Jeffery, either at meetings of the Society, price £10, or by application to him at price £12.50 in the UK, or £13.50 overseas.

Kipling read aloud

The Librivox on line audio library offers files of various poems and stories by Kipling which can be freely downloaded.

"Fringes of the Fleet" by Elgar and others - a recent CD of a classic work

"Fringes of the Fleet", accompanied by the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Tom Higgins, contains rarely heard music by Elgar, as well as works by John Ansell, Haydn Wood and Edward German.

For further information phone 020 8398 1586, email to, or visit the SOMM web-site.

"If—" sung by Rajesh David

Rajesh David is a singer and composer, trained in the Indian classical tradition. He learned "If—" as a young boy at school in Bombay, and was later inspired to compose this work, which blends Western orchestration with elements of Indian classical music.

This CD costs £6 (including p. & p.) within the UK and £6.50 abroad. Please contact Rajesh David at

Oak and Ash and Thorn

Folk Police Recordings have released an album with a selection of artists from the current folk scene, performing new versions of Peter Bellamy's settings of various of RK's poems from Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies.

These settings have long been out of print.

Barrack-room Ballads on CD

Two CD's of soldier songs of the Boer War and Great War are now available from ABC Classics in Australia including 21 original settings of the Barrack-Room Ballads performed by baritone Michael Halliwell and pianist David Miller.

More information can be found on the ABC Shops web-site, or via Peter Maddigan at

'If..' set to music by Peter Crisp

Peter Crisp, the Australian folk-singer and musician, writes; 'I was seven years old when my father walked into my bedroom, which I shared with my brother. He hammered a nail in the bedroom door, hung a framed poem on the nail and walked out without saying a word. The poem was 'If..', the same one given to him as a young man. It hung there in our thoughts and was constantly quoted by my father over the years until we left home as young men. I am now married with two young boys and they now have 'If..' hanging on their door'.

Peter has included a musical arrangement of 'If..' on a CD he has recently released. This is available to members of the Society at a price of $AU23.00 (approx £8.20) If you wish to order a copy, please email Peter at Click here for Peter's web-site.

Rudyard Kipling Readings,
by Ralph Fiennes at Bateman's

This CD, published by The National Trust, includes extracts from The Jungle Book, Something of Myself, Kim and The Just So Stories, as well as a number of poems including If-, Danny Deever, The Way Through the Woods, Cities and Thrones and Powers, Minesweepers and My Boy Jack

The CD is available from National Trust shops, price £9.99, or enquire at Droffig Recordings Ltd., (020 8444 5819 fax 020 8442 1005)

The excerpts from Kipling's writings were recorded by Ralph Fiennes in the study at Bateman's, where Kipling lived for the last thirty years of his life. The readings are interspersed with early recordings of music by Elgar, and classical Indian music. The programme is designed to present the many-sidedness of Kipling's talent, in prose and verse, and shows him to be perhaps the most versatile English writer of his time.

The overall playing time is 76:26. The recording is also available oncassette.

Just So Stories on CD

A very engaging recording of the Just So Stories is available on two CDs, narrated by Michael Ducarel. It can be ordered by telephone on 0845 456 1052 (in the UK), by email through, or by letter to 14B Kennington Oval, London SE11 5SG. The price for the two-disc set, including P&P, is £15.00 within the UK, and £16.00 abroad; cheques should be drawn on a UK bank and will only be presented once the CD is sent out.

The Jungle Play

Rudyard Kipling's 'The Jungle Play' was published for the first time on May 18th 2000 by Penguin Books, with an introduction by Professor Thomas Pinney, the distinguished American Kipling scholar.

Until very recently the play, a combination of story and song, based on the Mowgli stories, was buried among Rudyard Kipling's effects at the University of Sussex Library.

Kipling set to music

The American singer and song-writer Leslie Fish has set many of Kipling's poems to music, as you will see from Brian Mattinson's work on the musical settings of the verse.

You will find details of her latest albums on her web-site. Her album "Cold Iron" has fifteen of the poems set to music, and "Our Fathers of Old" another fourteen.

The Kipling Society of Australia

David Watts has been instrumental in relaunching the Kipling Society of Australia with successful and well-attended meetings and their own web-site.

Un Taureau intelligent ... et autres contes cruels

Readers who are interested in foreign language translations of Kipling may like to see a collection translated by Max Rives, who translated Kipling stories into French for many years. It is called "Un Taureau Intelligent" ("The Bull that Thought") and also includes "L'homme qui voulait être roi", "Mary Postgate", "Petit Tobrah", and L'aurore maltraité". The publisher is Actes Sud, and the ISBN number 2-7427-4471-1

Kim in Hebrew

An edition of Kim in Hebrew, translated and annotated by Shmuel (Muli) Vered, has been published by Aryeh Nir Publishers.

If you are interested in acquiring a copy please email to with your phone number.

Modern translations of Kipling
into Russian.

Three translations into Russian of works by Rudyard Kipling have just been published; "Actions and Reactions", "Traffics and Discoveries", and Captains Courageous.

The translator is Captain Nikolai Tess, a Latvian by birth, educated there and in Russia. They have been copiously annotated.
The print run has been limited, but copies may be obtained by contacting Captain Nikolai Tess, 126 rue du General de Gaulle, 95620 Parmain, FRANCE; e-mail The cost is €14.00, plus postage and packing.


A Diversity of Kipling | Arts and Crafts in the Punjab | Lycett biography | Kipling and War | Kipling and the Sea | Kipling Abroad

Lefanu, Something of themselves | Benfey, Kipling's American Years | Montefiore, In Time's Eye | Harris, The Two-sided Man

Richards, the Bibliography | Cambridge Edition of the poems | The Battle of Maiwand | Kipling and Trix | Man and Mason | The Cat that Walked

Kipling's Sussex | Lee, Kipling's forgotten sister | Lycett, Barrack Room Ballads | Gilmour, The Long Recessional

Raine, Selected poetry | Flanders, A Circle of Sisters | Allen, Kipling Sahib | Holts, My Boy Jack | The Irish Guards | Mallett, RK—a literary life,

Uncollected Speeches | Puck cross-references | Kipling's America | Railway Library facsimiles | The Kipling plaque at USC | Kipling Down Under

Nicolson, The Hated Wife | Review of Shanks study | The Long Trail | Kipling and his first publisher | Watercolour illustrations | Literary tours

Rottingdean painting | Bateman's gardens | Rudyard Lake etching | Strang Etching | New editions of the rarer works

Rudyard and Kipling, Michigan | RK poems on cassette | The Just So Songbook | Kipling read aloud | The Fringes of the Fleet

If— sung by Rajesh David | RK and the Swastika | Staying in Burwash | Staying in Naulakha

'If—' poster` | 100 years of Kim | Oak and Ash and Thorn | Barrack Room Ballads on CD | 'If—' set by Peter Crisp

Fiennes readings of RK | Just So Stories on CD | The Jungle Play | Leslie Fish settings | Kipling Society for Estonia

Translations into Russian | Kipling Society of Australia | Un taureau intelligent | Kim in Hebrew

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